September 14 - 1966: Two in rowboat leave Orleans for England

Two English rowers successfully cross the Atlantic from Cape Cod
Walter Brooks (left), then of The Cape Codder, walks with John Ridgway as he wades to his rowboat in Nauset Inlet in Orleans. Photo by Pat Brooks.

1966: Just a compass, four oars and three months in a 20-foot rowboat

In September of 1966, two very brave British paratroopers landed "The English Rose" rowboat in Ireland after a 92 day voyage from Nauset Inlet in Orleans rowing across the Atlantic to the Aran Isles.

On their journey, the Daily Record UK began:

The epic voyage that changed Scot explorer John Ridgway's life forever

Being one half of the first ever rowing duo to cross the north Atlantic changed adventurer John Ridgway's life forever.

In a boat just 20 feet long and five feet wide, he and fellow paratrooper Chay Blyth spent 92 days plunging through rough seas, surfing mammoth waves and narrowly escaping death in an unexpected hurricane.

They had boils caused by salt water, blisters on their palms and survived many frightening encounters with whales and basking sharks...

By the end of the voyage, they were desperate to reach land and every minute of every day was spent rowing, with the two men taking turns at the oars, while the other slept. Then, in September 1966, they reached the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, three months after they had pushed off from Cape Cod in America - a departure that had been hampered by dozens of people wading into the water in an attempt to be the last to shake hands with the brave rowers.

Read the entire story in the Daily Record UK.

(The British paratroopers, Ridgway on left, Blyth on right, start their epic row across the Atlantic. Orleans Selectman Charles F. Moore can be seen with the hat watching from the boat in the top photo. He later gave the town the bandstand shell at the Eldredge ballpark and his name adorns the Orleans skating center.) Photos by Walter Brooks. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on